Better to Die – ‘The characters were fully developed and the writing was superb’

So, my first novel, Better to Die, has hit the bookshelves. To date, it’s had some amazing reviews, but I thought I should put it to the test with an expert reviewer. I started trawling through the lists, trying to find someone who enjoyed action adventures, and came up with Lynne Barnes of ‘Barnsey’s Books’.

However, I knew I was taking a risk. Barnsey’s got bite, and she doesn’t pull her punches.

I’d taken a look at her other reviews and quailed at some of her comments. She wasn’t slow to say if parts of a book ‘dragged a little’ or if she found it impossible to empathise with a novel’s characters due to their ‘vulgarity and crudeness’. I really didn’t want to be picking up comments like: ‘I felt bogged down by the weight of a story that took such a long time to go anywhere’. Ouch!

It was with a huge sigh of relief when I read her review of Better to Die. After giving a quick précis of the plot (without any spoilers), she got down to business. This is what she wrote:

I'll be totally honest here and admit that military books aren't usually my thing. However, I'm so pleased I took a chance because this time it came up trumps. The author is a former British Army officer who really knows his stuff. His expert knowledge is unparalleled and left me in awe. What an amazing career he must have had and it was a privilege to be given a glimpse into army life, albeit fictional, through the characters in this book.

Due to being outside my normal reading comfort zone, it took a little while to adjust and connect with the story. I was unsure if this was something I was going to enjoy or whether it would be a slog. I really needn't have worried — the characters were fully developed and the writing was superb. I was soon eagerly turning pages and fully immersed. The story flowed exceptionally well and I became invested in Jack's life and career. What a great read! I highly recommend it.

Phew! So I’ve passed Barnsey’s test. Now I hope others will become equally invested in Jack Adair’s life and career as he battles the Queen’s enemies and others closer to home as a young officer with the King’s Royal Rangers.

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